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Umuseso newspaper editor Didas Gasana grilled by Rwandan police

April 27, 2010

by Ann Garrison

Didas Gasana is the editor of Umuseso, one of the Kinyarwanda language newspapers banned by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
On Monday, April 26, police detectives in Kigali, Rwanda, interrogated Didas Gasana, editor of the weekly African language newspaper Umuseso for eight hours. Gasana now fears extrajudicial abduction or a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

“Things are gettting tougher here,” Gasana said after his ordeal. “My heart quakes, but no one sees, and we can’t sacrifice the values of liberty and free speech at the altar of state intimidation.”

Thirteen days earlier, Rwandan authorities shut down both Umuseso and Umuvugizi, Rwanda’s two independent African language newspapers for the next six months. Since 70 percent of Rwandans speak only Kinyarwanda, the African language shared by all Rwandans, and, since only 3 percent have internet access, this means that most Rwandans will not have access to anything but state run media until after the presidential election scheduled for Aug. 9.

Rwanda’s “High Media Council” accuses Gasana of constantly insulting Rwandan President Paul Kagame and thus provoking possible insubordination within the army and panic among the population. They also charged that his publication is frightening potential investors that Rwanda is not secure, though many Rwandans have reported increasing tension and instability throughout the past year and the BBC, Reuters, Agence France Press, Global Research, Digital Journal, the Black Star News, the San Francisco Bay View and many other publications have reported the recent string of grenade attacks in Rwanda’s capital Kigali.

Presidential candidate Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, in court, at a bail hearing, six hours after being arrested in Kigali, Rwanda. – Photo: FDU-Inkingi Party
Police say they are only investigating Gasana and that they will hand their final dossier over to the prosecutions department, which will decide whether or not to indict him.

Jean Bosco Gasasira, the editor of Umuvugizi, the other suspended newspaper, is also wanted by Rwandan police, but he has gone into hiding. In 2007, Gasasira was treated in intensive care after being attacked and beaten with iron bars.

Gasana was preparing a lawsuit challenging the suspension of Umuseso when brought in for state interrogation, following months of state interrogation of opposition party leaders and presidential candidates in the run-up to Rwanda’s presidential election.

On April 21, Rwanda arrested Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza and charged her with associating with terrorists and violating “genocide ideology” statutes, which define a speech crime unique to Rwanda. Law Professor Peter Erlinder, lead defense counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, has since joined Ingabiré’s legal defense team.

Bernard Ntaganda, presidential candidate of the Parti Social-Imberakuri, expects to be arrested as FDU-Inkingi candidate Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza was on 04.18.2010. – Photo: Ann Garrison
Ingabiré’s arrest generated a flurry of press and human rights protest from Africa to Europe, the Americas and Australia, and she and her FDU-Inkingi Party thanked the international community when she was released on bail last Friday.

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda leader Frank Habineza feared arrest upon his return to Kigali, also on Monday, April 26, after giving a speech on Afrikaday in Holland, but he returned to his family without intervention and, like Ingabiré, thanked the international community’s attention for their vigilant readiness to protest his arrest.

Bernard Ntaganda, the presidential candidate of the Parti Social-Imberakuri, the only party legally registered to field a candidate, also expects to be arrested and has asked for the same attention from the international community.

The Rwanda government has banned Umuseso and Umuvugizi newspapers for 6 months, as the presidential election polls approach on August 9th. Both publish in Kinyarwanda, the African language spoken by all Rwandans, whose educated elites also speak French and/or English. – Photo: Kigali Wire
If either editor or another of the candidates is arrested, supporters of peace and social justice in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region of Africa should be ready to post the news and call for his release on social media like Facebook and Twitter and to contact press, Amnesty International, at http://www.amnesty.org/en/contact, and Human Rights Watch, at http://www.hrw.org/en/contact-us.

On Friday, April 23, Rwanda expelled Human Rights Watch researcher Carina Tertsakian, frightening many Rwandans about what might be next.

Speaking to KMEC Radio-Mendocino on April 19, Gasana said, “I would like the Americans to know that the taxes they are paying are used to sustain one of the most brutal dictatorships in Africa. I want them to ask President Obama and the Congress why their taxes are sustaining the Rwandan dictatorship in the form of aid. What they are doing is a betrayal of the Rwandese.”

You can listen to the KMEC Radio report here:

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Digital Journal, Examiner.com, OpEdNews, Global Research, Colored Opinions and her blog, San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Digital Journal, Examiner.com, OpEdNews, Global Research and Colored Opinions. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. This story originally appeared in Digital Journal.

26 thoughts on “Umuseso newspaper editor Didas Gasana grilled by Rwandan police

  1. Charles Kabonero

    Ann, thanks for the good work. You remind me of Alison Deforge who did everything to warn the international community about the Genocide and they kept mum until a million people were killed. Sadly, before she died, she was denied entry into Rwanda because she was at it again criticizing the dictatorship in Kigali and the totalitarianism of the Kagame regime. I have been impressed by your efforts, your pieces including this master-piece i have just read. Please, keep up.

    Reply
  2. Andrew Kagame

    Ann, you are a hero of a kind. The increasing dictatorship and attacks on the press, opposition in Kigali need to be highlighted to the maximum and you are doing exactly that-thanks a millions. Rwandans must be happy having some one who is doing a difference-thanks Ann.

    Reply
  3. James Ntabyera

    I am a Rwandese leaving outside Rwanda because of my job.
    I frequently read articles regarding my Country just because i love my country but i always get perplexed about the so called human wright articles who pretend to be talking on behalf of us Rwandese while they are expressing their own views. we are tired of you people stop those critics which are not benefiting us as Rwandese. We are happy with our Government and we are ready to support. That so called presedential candite of yours Ingabire has no credibility in Rwanda and i wonder how you call a pontetial opposition candidate even before she registers her party??? How do you call a party in Rwanda when it is not registered there??
    If you want to go America or any where in Europe do you wake and just jump into a plane and you are there?? or you have bare the basic requirement to get you a visa and then go?? if they refuse to give you a visa do ask their president to explain why???
    Why is it that you want things that cann’t be done in your countries to be done in Rwanda??? is the love you have for us??? we are tired of you people.

    Reply
  4. Kagabo Paul

    Ann, the history is on your side, on rwandese people side who are now being killed and attacked everyday in the name of Kagame’s democracy in front of the so called”international community”.
    The West is currently making a big mistake helping General Kagame’s Regime…I have a funny filling that this turning worse than Rwandese 1994 period.
    Ann, Please keep up doing the Good Job, Rwandese people greatly appreciate your hard work and your love for Human Rights.

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  5. Simon Mugabe

    Hi Ann, my compliments to you and your wonderful articles on Rwanda. Your intervention has been very timely. About your appeal to people to assist you in this noble cause, I promise to be one of those who will do everything I can-we all need to come together to expose the Kagame dictatorship which, as Didas said, is the worst in Africa. Rwandans have been silenced but together we can spur them to speak out for their rights..well done and be assured of our support in this cause-its just been late but we can still make a difference. Thanks

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  6. Claudine Mukeshimana

    Every one is like Ann Ann, you are all whinning,you call on to Ann as if she is the one with a solution to your home country problems.You have got to do it ypurselves.Ann is the same pink,white skinned who if anything went wrong in Rwanda-her government would airlift her and leave Rwandans to sort out their mess.Dont you learn from the past? And besides dont you know history of colonialism -its called divide and rule.It still exists-the west will always to disorganise Africa for their own interests-Look at Congo and Darfur,why do you think the so called G8 are just talking and doing northing? the trick is to keep Africa into turmoil and then get opportunies to exploit the resources-Why are thy in Iraq? for the same reasons.
    It is to that reason that i ask that woman Ann to leave us alone.Leave Rwandans to sort themselves out-because you are an egent of the west.You will talk, write i dont know what-just to make the world believe that you are concerned BUT YOU ARE NOT-just a job you have been assigned to-DISORGANISE THEM AND WE EXPLOIT THEM.
    We know what is best for us, we make our laws and we are accountable to them besides we have leanrnt from history what media like yours can do to us.
    Leave us alone-when we need we shall call you.There are laws and no one is above the law.We know the best rights?If by rights you mean calling back genocide,then iam afraid you are flogging a dead horse because i can assuer you the past is gone and we are not going back.Iam sorry if thats what you wished.

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  7. Jeremie

    I want again to thank you Ann. Keep up your good work. Don`t pay much attention to those who praise dictatorship and totalitarism in Rwanda ,they are just blinded mind and don`t care about the misery and sufferings going in Rwanda.We wont give up to speak and denounce the evil.

    Reply
  8. Claudine Mukeshimana

    Well then Jeremie, do it yourself.Why do you put much hope in Ann to help you? Good work? good work for herself and her country and not yours.There is a difference in doing something as just a job and doing it with a passion.That woman Ann has no passion for Rwanda-her aim is one disorganise you and kill each other then she will take the first flight to come and take the flesh pictures of dead bodies.

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  9. Claudine Mukeshimana

    @Ann: So should you Ann.Stop instigating tension among Rwanda’s Ethnic groups.Let Rwandans choose their own path.You didnt help in the past and you have no record of being concerned with matters which are not of interest to your Country.So leave it alone after all you dont know much to offer a solution.

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  10. Jeremie Musonera

    @ Claudine Mukeshimana

    Shut up !! Nobody invited you to join these discussions on this blog. You came on your own will.If you can`t stand different opinions than yours,then get away instead of spreading insults. We are on internet and not in Rwanda where Kagame and his extremist fans like you don`t want to here critics or different opinions about how to promote lasting peace,unity, reconciliation and democracy in our country.We won`t give up to speak up and denounce dictatorship,injustices and oppressions.!!!

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  11. Claudine Mukeshimana

    @Musonera.Iam not going anywhere agatumbye kameneke.And who says that i cant stand this simple minded idiots like you musonera.

    You are jelousy,you cant stand to see the success of Kagame’s regime..You have no choice but to stand outside and watch the beauty of sweet home sweet,and God knows why?.Your fellow Hutu are sharing the cake unlike you.

    Kagame’s government is not a government of one ethnic group even though you like to see it that way.You try to make him look like your previous governments But he is smart enough to repulse strongly.
    All those uncles of yours heading Minsitries, in different government parastatals,are you more of Hutu than them? Do you think you are clever than them?

    You call Kagame dictator bse he doesnt tolerate any idiots like you around him-which has made Rwanda the least corrupt country as compared to other African countries.
    Wherever, you are judt know that you will never be accepted in any society and if you are a person who takes pride in himself,you will loose your self esteem.And if you try to come forcefully-ask your collegues FDRL ,if you come using inflammatory language,ask your sister Ingabire.
    You must get used to it-Rwanda is for us all-the three groups and no one will ever get a machete to butcher the other.I think you that already,dont you ? No one allover the world will have a kind word for a person who cuts into pieces a baby because of the way it was born.No chance come home or shut it up!!!

    Reply
  12. Jeremie Musonera

    @Claudine Mukeshimana

    Ok. Stay with us and we will keep telling you the truth.But keep away your insults for they won`t change the fact that kagame and his politics are totalitarism and oppression. People who stand on the side of the truth and respect of human rights and democracy won`t give up my dear !!! Try to defend your criminal idol kagame but as I told you the truth always prevails.

    Reply
  13. Claudine Mukeshimana

    @Musonera.

    Iam staying not for your lies, but because i have tell the truth about my mother country.I wont stand by and watch you polute the world with lies intended to bring back genocide.
    Me and you speak diffrent languages and thats normal-you think you are tellong the truth and so is me,so?? lets carry on.

    Reply
  14. Edmund

    Ann

    On this blog you refer to this section as Africa and the World…does the whole Africa and the World translate into Rwanda to you?

    Why dont you call it Rwanda Page,perhaps it can serve better your obsession with Rwanda.

    Reply
  15. SELEMANI

    @Claudine Mukeshimana, let me make my comment and I will get to you Claudine. I can't say much without thanking Ann for her good work. Ladies and gentlemen, any country with no free press is a country rulled by a dictator. You can argue as much as you want but the truth of the matter is that Kagame is a dictator and he needs to clean up his mess sooner because he will regret it, if lucky enough to have that chance to regret. In Rwanda, anyone who opposes the government is a terrorist and has genocide ideology!!! That is nosense. This is not a matter of genocide anymore my fellow rwandans, it is a game that Kagame and his regime are using to cling on power and Rwanda's economy for the rest of their lives, and at the same time eliminating all those who accuse him of having massacred hundreds of thousands of Rwandans. Lets have oppen and honest discussions about our country and bring all those who participated in the genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda and Congo. Kagame needs to stand trial if he knows he is innocent and has nothing to fear.

    Continuation, next post……..

    Reply
  16. SELEMANI MUREKEZI

    I have writtten a book about what happened in my country,"The truth about Rwandan genocide and how I survived it" I wrote it because I needed to tell the world thhe truth of what happened in Rwanda. Lets respect one another as human beings, have free political space in our country and have freedom of speech. Just because someone has different ideas and opinions from yours, it doesn't mean that person is an idiot or your enemy.

    Claudine, lets not call each other idiots because we are not idiots. We are better than this in Rwanda and as Rwandans from all angles of life. Lets not call each other Tutsi, Hutu, or Twa. That was used during colonial times to divide us. And we have seen the consequences.

    Lets try to move forward by telling the truth about what happened in Rwanda, what is happening in Rwanda and bring to justice all of those who killed others or forgive oneanother and realize that in Rwanda genocide was committed by both sides and against both side even though one side suffered more than the other.

    Selemani Murekezi

    Reply
  17. zafarani gasana

    nibiki ko muduhabura my self am rwandese studying abroad so seing the kind of such discussion make feel sorry of me since i will come to elect my president why should peaple do this all of this should use good words since the are being rode by any one plz stop and i much tell the lady claudine and jeremy that they should pray ALLAH to get peace thank you.

    Reply
  18. Ruremesha

    I can't believe my eyes over what i have been reading on the above page!! Guys you should open your eyes ! Ann is nothing but a skiny pink donkey spy for the so called western block. If you are genuine Rwandans you should stop attacking each other and focus on the future of our beloved country. I hope you are enough matured to make difference between evil and good. Contribute to and don't hinder the progress made the tragic genocide. Abwirwa benshi akumva beneyo.

    Reply
  19. Patrick

    To all whom comment here please i beg your pardon! do not continue puting pressing the rwandese to think the past please, especial This people from west i mean The white people leave african alone do not continue colonise african we are no longer slaves,u want to continue stilling us as your profession separeting african make them hate each other?we have all ready know u! No more genocide in rwanda
    Ann and other even if u publish and contact again there is no more genocide, where have u been when 1994 genocide happened?u have been watching and claping your hands but now we are in 2010 and we are going ahead no matter what?
    Please the west peoples as u call your self (Mind your business)not rwanda
    see what is happening in Somalia ,rdc and Soudan u are watching it, please watch rwanda too u will wonder how is developing it self with out u.
    I thank Claudine for answering your questions.

    Reply
  20. makengayandi

    in some departments like in micro.finance transformation for development good example is umurenge Sacco program but its organization chat,board of directors then accountant who worked as manager ,accountant ,cashier mobilizer i don't imagine if one person can overall three or more responsibilities.in aug/2010 that is when rwanda cooparative agence RCA imforming all imirenge saccos to have maneger in september thats when national bank of rwanda BNR also who have provisional licence to apoint loan officer . but now let us apiont on accountant who was manager ,mobliser ,cachier and unedecated boad of directors who can not understand management of sacco.some of accountants in hall country are facing the problem of not accomplishing and fullfilling thier accountability but alot of work which can't corved by one person resulting to impresonment and run away from the country since they are the one who contributed alot to form umurenge sacco program i play for then .RCA have to conseder how former of saccos suffered with salaly which came after seven moth and only one person to control more to that RCA AND BNR have to inform saccos get enough techenician who can fullfil the needs of members .

    Reply

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